It's Xtraordinarymom's 4th Year!!!

24 October 2012

It's simple when it's right

And happy just to be me
And be alive

My life is as predictable as my personality. Whatever you read in both my blogs are the exact experiences I had in my journey as a mother and wife. The author of this blog is the very same person outside of the blogosphere. My personality, exactly the same. I was never fond of pretending or try so hard just to be the center of everything. I just want the people to know me as "Enchie", same name my family and close friends call me.
All I want is to dance around with the flow of life and share it. This blog will never be alive if not for the pieces big or small that makes up my simple life.
Mom to 2 boys
Wife to my partner and bestfriend
Blogger a source of inspiration
Someone who loves to cook
Gamer another outlet
Music Lover a motivating factor
I make my purpose in life more meaningful as I celebrate Love and Life with my children and my loving husband everyday.
I try to make the most of the smallest things and  I try to bring out the extraordinary by just BEING ME. With that, I was able to start with something good and right. The ability to come up with various non-monetary form of motivation and inspire others. I always pray for wisdom towards something inspiring as I create an entry.
What will I be... where will I be if it weren't for blogging...
I am very thankful and grateful for the warm welcome I had when I started with Blogger. This will always be home for the Xtraordinarymom.

So Much Gifts and Surprises

19 October 2012

Finally, a post of my warm thanks and appreciation to the people who were very thoughtful. Thank you for sending me not only my favorite things but also the big smile on my face. These are just some of the items I received. There was so much that I just went with whatever I can take a picture of.
 Friends and relatives would always give me Bath & Body Works products such as body lotions and body wash for pasalubong. Now, it's raining Bath& Body Works Pocket Bac. They all smell good.
New set of make-up. Yehey Clinique! Eversince I started grooming myself with make-up may it be for special occasions or sometimes a little something for an ordinary day, it has always been Clinique. Clinique products suits my skin type.

I'm a lip gloss person, it makes my lips healthy. I shifted to Burt's Bees because it is made of  natural ingredients, it moisturizes and conditions lips. 
When it comes to fashion and the latest for us women, I rely on Lucky Magazine. They don't only feature a whole fashion line, but they also share points and practical ways to be fashionable without going overboard. I have tons of it. I always go back to old issues and I try to think of ways on how to reinvent certain styles.
I was asked what I wanted... Since I have a baby around, I've let go of perfumes for awhile. The only thing I could think that can be less harmful and milder are body sprays. So I said, how about GAP Dream just a small bottle that will last at least for next months. To my surprise, I got 2 and even  better GAP Dream More. This scent is hard to find here in the Philippines because people are always on the look for GAP Dream.
With the amount of GAP Dream More at hand... I will surely be floating in my dreams with its lovely scent.
The people who showered me with so much goodies... they know me too well, without uttering a word, they know what to get for me... You know who you are... I am truly blessed and grateful for the thought and most of all, to be part of your family.

Road Sentiments

If there's something to be disappointed about this country, that would be life on the road of an ordinary day in the Philippines. I have been driving since I was 18 years old. One of the important things my driving trainer (my Dad) emphasized on are the values one should reflect once on the road. Same values that makes up a person and same qualities that are not being taught in driving schools.
These values kept me safe from harmful elements on the road including opportunistic traffic enforcers.
Sadly, in my years driving in and out the streets of Manila, Quezon City and wthin the streets of my hometown in Rizal, all I witnessed was total chaos.
Chaos meaning: Roll these all in 1.
  • Cars blocking pedestrian lanes.
  • Public vehicles making every corner as their terminal.
  • Traffic enforcers hiding on the hunt for the next "kotong" victim instead of managing traffic flow.
  • Parking on sidewalks.
  • Pedestrians walking literally, in the middle of the road.
  • Pedestrians crossing as if their window shopping. You honk at them, they get mad.
  • Vendors blocking bus stops and jeepney stops.
  • Drivers of private and public vehicles who doesn't care if an old lady or if a woman with her kids is crossing. These drivers will push to get through instead of giving the people priority.
  • Drivers who wants every space on the road. And you know what's funny, "sa kabila ng kanto titigil din naman sila agad, kasi traffic." So they won't let you pass because they need that itsy- bitsy space on the road, in the end, every car is still stuck in heavy traffic.
  • Drivers who are very fond of cutting another vehicle.
  • Small motorbikes and bicycles (which I call Zerglings) are in the middle of the fast lane waiting for an accident to happen. 
  • Speeding trucks.
Everyday, I encounter these very same problems. Literally all of it. I got fed up with it that's why I made this post.

I wonder if most drivers were born with common sense or let's say "gifted" with it. Because with what I have been experiencing, the situation on the road and within the streets involving vehicles and drivers are results coming from a careless, selfish person, x10. That's how bad it is. If there's something new to see,  that's only the situation getting worse.  You just need to be in the right state of mind in order to execute a safe and good travel without hassling anyone else. It's as simple as being careful.
We have road rules, traffic signs that's already been laid for us, why can't we just follow. Even if we have the most corrupt traffic enforcer managing these things, it still falls down to us drivers to follow what is right for the common good, "not what we think is right."
If you drive and you are reading this, maybe you'll agree with my sentiments or maybe a big possibility that I'll get people angry. Reality bites. That's how it is. There are solutions to these problems, let's start by  being a good and respectful citizens.

Why We Prefer English

18 October 2012

When my eldest son came to this world and completed our family, one of the first things his pediatrician asked us was... "what do you want for your child as his first language, English o Tagalog?" I was a bit confused when it came to this matter. Eversince, even when I was still single, I always thought that "it should" be Tagalog since we live in the Philippines. It has become a requirement for the simple fact that we are Filipinos.
Filipino ka, mag Tagalog ka.

Hard truth, it doesn't go that way all the time.

When I met my husband and discovered that he  had a different upbringing with English as his main language, I didn't find anything wrong or awkward about it.

My husband being a good example, grew up in an English based environment. He lived in Cubao, Quezon City his whole life, but when you hear him talk, it seems like he came from another country. He explained to me how his parents trained and made it easy for him and his siblings to adapt to the English language. Later on, when he started school in Ateneo, Filipino subject was introduced, and same thing, learning Tagalog came easy as acquiring English.

You need to become a parent in order to understand why we want our children to speak in English.
As the child blooms from an infant to becoming a toddler and a pre-schooler, as parents, we are bound to choose a primary language that will aid our child/ children in the developmental process.
It serves as a foundation as they learn to talk from uttering a word to a full sentence. Age 0- 6 years/ preschool stage is the most critical in terms of development because it is the absorbent stage. The child starts to build his own foundation as a "person". The child gets information, influence and inspiration from the people, places and events that surrounds him. They pick up almost everything. They mimic and most of the time, they apply it instantly.
Environment plays a big role. Since my husband grew up with English being his first language, we both agreed to apply the same thing with our kids. In other words, in our family, the English setting is already there. With that, it's easier for our kids to adapt.
Based on my experience as a parent for 8 years, I considered several factors to a successful adaptation of the English language and an easy transition to Tagalog.
Home-  Is the home environment change- friendly? When you say change- friendly, it means if the whole atmosphere of the house or the flow within the family itself is open for change. It doesn't stick with one routine. My son speaks in English, but he can talk a little Tagalog and understands it. At home we are slowly shifting our routine, since my eldest is already a big boy he is bound to see and experience the real world, we want him to adapt easily like everyone else.
School- This is considered to be a big factor on choosing and enhancing what "you think" is best for your child. The social environment plays a big role. For example: My son Frankie goes to a private school near Ateneo. With that, we all know the type of kids he mingles with. Yes, the first word you'll hear from Frankie's friends is English. But mind you, they all also know how to speak in Tagalog whenever they want and they can understand Tagalog too.
Social/ Community- It all starts at home. If the home environment holds a strong foundation and if it allows change and flexibility on a natural approach, then the influence coming from different people and communities our child will be exposed to are not going to be harmful to his over-all personality and development.
Activities both at home and in school- This will focus on what the children watch on television, the sports and games they play, the books they read and even the food they eat. All of these supports  and influence how the child will set his mind and connect it with his manner of speaking.
There are benefits when one will use English as his first language.
  • It builds up the confidence of a confident person even more.
  • It's great with meeting new friends.
  • Reality, we're going global, English being the "universal language", when it comes to interacting with other people from another country is easier.
As parents, we are not only thinking of the benefits our children will get from the present, but also what the future can give them. Realistically speaking, when you talk good English, meaning the right one too, you'll be noticed. You will definitely stand out. It's a building block on having a good future.

The English language doesn't make you less of a Filipino. You're still Pinoy.
Nobody can dictate to us parents what is right for our children.

 There's nothing wrong if we want our children to speak fluent English.
We will always embrace our culture and traditions as Filipinos.
With my children, I'm proud to say: "that's pure Filipino blood running inside the body of a good speaker."

Making Use of Those Photo Apps

17 October 2012

If you noticed that most of the pictures on my recent posts may have been taken  using a cellphone, an iPod and even from the iPad, well, that's because I wanna make some room in my mommy bag. The only item I can add with my already full set of hands is an all- around gadget. With my other half? same goes. It's different when you have 2 boys to take care of.
The easiest way to capture moments are through the essential gadgets we carry with us most of the time.  I'm very fond of photo apps. It's helping me "not miss" cherished events.  Before, I thought that I don't need such equipments. Now, it has become my all around, reliable gadget/s. It covers everything that I need. It's not only about "having the latest". It's maximizing the over-all function of the gadget and it's benefits.

*image taken from i-mag cover * I have been an I- mag reader since 2008. I learn a lot from their  articles and I try everything from the tips and tricks in photography they share. On the latest issue I got, I-mag featured the must-haves on photography apps. I was very happy basing with the ones I have, it clearly states that I'm in the right path on choosing apps. 
As a photo enthusiast,  it doesn't mean I just grab and buy apps that are famous. I do a lot of research because I spend money on apps, even $0.99 app is still valuable. I make sure that for each photo app, I'll get something useful and wonderful. Let's start with Instagram.
I'm very particular with Instagram because it is the most used app. I started using Instagram just this year. Imagine, Instagram has been there for  years, but I never really looked deeper until now... I found the #1 purpose of this app (basing it on my perspective)--- not only you can post images, but it connects people. It's a very creative source to discover  the "behind-the-scene" moments of an individual.
Like everyone else, I have tons of photos on Instagram. But not all of it are shared on Facebook or else where. I still keep that part of my life private.

 Aside from Instagram, I have other photo apps which I love to play and tweak around with.
Awesomize a haggard looking face. 
Camera Awesome has an Image Stabilization, Timer, Interval, Fast and Slow Burst feature. You can use it as a regular camera. It also offers awesome effects that can make an image look a lot cooler. After awesomizing your photo, share in an instant on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Photo Toaster is one of my favorites because of the mixture of effects. I particularly love the grunge- classic effect, just what I did with this magazine shot. It clarifies and gives a photo a more vibrant finish. Also available effects from the boldest up to the softest hue.
I was imagining that 360 Panorama is perfect for outdoor shots. The color of nature in 360 view, amazing just thinking about it.
Well this photo above isn't really a 360 shot (maybe half of it lol!), I'm really bad with this app. I'm still in the process, learning... Looking forward to the outdoor images I was imagining.

Pixlromatic is one of the first photo apps I had. It has a special feature where you can add accents to your photo. Like Twinkles for my son's picture.
Pic Collage and Pic Stitch are 2 photo apps we often use to put moments together and share it.

Other Photo Apps:
PS Express and iPhoto
 Photo applications can make a dull shot lively and attractive. But fear not, there's room for your big cameras, tiny digital cameras and others. A camera connection kit was made available for Apple products. With a camera connection kit you can import photos and videos from your digital camera using USB cable or from an SD card. I still use my cameras that's why some pictures I tweak are clear, I move images. There are tons of colors, effects, borders and other photo enhancers to play around with in an instant with these apps. And of course, more options in terms of  apparatus used.

Pictures are indeed worth a thousand, colorful words. Traditional film, digital cameras or even photo apps, what matters are the faces, candid moments and events in our lives that will make these photography tools put to good use.

Totoro Makes Each Day Brighter

16 October 2012

Just recently, my husband had a meaningful talk with his team at work. They started to talk about movies, cartoons both for the kids and the young at heart. It just so happen that one of my husband's coordinators loves Japanese cartoons, anime. He recommended flicks from Studio Ghibli which is a Japanese Animation Studio, and he was very nice to give us a copy of one of the movies.

It all started with Spirited Away. Then we went on with Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies, Howl's Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro.
My Neighbor Totoro has become the family's favorite. My Neighbor Totoro carries a very pleasant vibe. Watching the opening segment alone can make a person smile all day. Listening to the theme can make us wander away to wonderland. It's the perfect cartoon for the whole family, I greatly recommend it.
My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The story goes around two sisters and their adventures with the wood spirits in rural Japan.
 The film won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize and the Mainichi Film Award for Best Film in 1988.

It was re-released by Disney on March 7, 2006. With Dakota Fanning ( Satsuki Kusakabe ),  Elle Fanning ( Mei Kusakabe ), Tim Daly (Father and professor- Tatsuo Kusakabe ) and our very own Ms. Lea Salonga (Yasuko Kusakabe - Mother).

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90 percent of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based upon a sample of 29, with an average score of 8.1/10. -source-
Totoro made several cameos in other cartoon movies and the famous ones are episodes of South Park as a background character, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Brief Lives and Pixar's Toy Story 3.
Over the weekend, we went to Greenhills and found dozens of Totoro merchandise in Comic Alley. The sales person from Comic Alley told us that they're just doing an experiment if the Totoro items are going to sell and they are.
Comic Alley is the No.1 Anime shop here in the Philippines. I told my husband that Comic Alley is going to be added as a regular stop for me in any mall.

For starters, I bought a small stuffed toy and an I.D holder with a Totoro chain. At work, my husband has his own Totoro too.
Why are we all goo-goo-and ga-ga over Totoro?
1. He's so cute and cuddly.
2. He's so cute and cuddly.
3. He's so cute and cuddly.
And you know what's interesting too?  we also found some sellers of original Totoro bed, slippers, jacket, bags and big stuffed toys, things that they don't sell in Comic Alley.

As a parent, cartoons like My Neighbor Totoro is something worth watching. I suggest this more than any other show on television. My Neighbor Totoro emphasizes good values. It enhances imagination on an innocent and more natural approachrespect and care for nature and the most important of all, it shows love between family members and neighbors.

I just love Totoro... 

Rockin' The One Shoulder Look

10 October 2012

A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a wedding...
The theme of Black & White gave the whole celebration a simple yet an elegant feel.
The groom is the cousin of my husband. By the way, it was my first time to attend a wedding as a sponsor.
Well, I'm more of a representative for my mother-in-law who resides in America. We were all very excited preparing for the event. My gown was provided by my in-laws. They were able to come up with an exquisite look for me. The One- Shoulder Look.
It's been a long time since I got dressed up for a formal occasion, so please bear if I go crazy over this one. I never in my whole life did see myself wearing a one- shoulder dress. I'm so happy and thankful for the people who helped me ramp up a good look for the wedding.
I accessorized with Majorica pearls, matching bracelet and earrings and of course my wedding ring. I didn't wanna over do it, a nude shade for my nails blended perfectly. Gold clutch that can turn into an instant purse with short and long handles and Prissy Cosmic Dust from Naturalizer for my footwear.
For my make-up, I did it myself. I wanted a simple- not too flashy but still noticeable look. Then I went to a local salon in Tagaytay for my hair. I decided to go for a bun because I want to accentuate my shoulders and of course the one- shoulder strap of the gown.
I'm happy that my mother-in-law was very pleased. This is an important thing for me, considering my role as a sponsor and as an inspiration to the couple.
Married for 8 years and having a blissful relationship with that same person for 12 years.
My husband was very handsome, we both went back to the time.
There were times when I tend to forget to take care of myself with the work needed to be done in the house. That very same occasion made me feel so beautiful.  It reminded me that hey, even if I stay at home, it's important to look at oneself in front of the mirror and say "I am beautiful in a very unique way"...with that, you don't even need to dress up or wear make-up. I'll carry this positive thought with me forever.

Busy Being A Mom

So here I go again leaving and living with this blog empty for the past month. I just realize that having a kid and an infant to take care of makes things a bit challenging. Greatly considering the difference in terms of their growth and development level. Even with that,  I value and enjoy every second spent with my family, especially with my children.
 One of my perks of full- time mom is being able to witness how my kids show love for each other, how my eldest son looks after his younger brother... their milestones together as brothers.

I guess there's nothing really wrong if I leave my blogs hanging for awhile, because for the past months, my activities and our tasks as a family kept us busy and it's all worth it.
My son Frankie just turned 8 last month... and boy, time flies so fast. In no time, I'll be sharing stories on being a mom of a highschool and a college student.

Next thing you know, both my boys are married. Ha! Anyway, it doesn't end there because my husband and I are still praying that we're going to be gifted with another child, a baby girl perhaps! ( a wink to our Creator :D ).

Everyday, I wake up to a new day. Everyday, I look forward to the new things I can give my family. Everyday, I look forward to the new things that will make life extraordinary.
Just yesterday, our car wasn't allowed to hit the main roads because of the number coding. You know what, instead of taking a cab to bring and fetch my son from school, I took a tricycle and I brought my youngest son with me, so that he can experience it. It was a fun ride with my boys.
And one of the most important things I am very focused on, is Frankie's performance in school. His social skills, academic, and attitude. As a parent, I want my children to balance these 3 factors. With the last parent- teacher conference we had, we were told that Frankie's doing well and as always, he's loving Math. When I was my son's age, I never liked Mathematics. That's why I am very grateful for the turn-out, it came out naturally for Frankie to love numbers.
At this point in time, all I want to do is to be abale to provide a well-balanced foundation at home. If I'm needed to sacrifice more of the time left for myself, I will give it, I will do it.
Anything for my children...